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Town of Bel Air, Md., Awards Cable Franchise to Verizon

Vote Paves the Way for Innovative, Competitive Choice for TV Service, Delivered Over the Nation's Most Advanced All-Fiber-Optic Network Straight to Consumers' Homes

News Release

October 7, 2008 –

BEL AIR, Md. - Residents of this town are a major step closer to having an innovative, reliable and competitive alternative for their television services, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Town of Bel Air Commissioners on Monday (Oct. 6) authorizing Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV.

FiOS TV is delivered over Verizon's all-fiber-optic network, which brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes and has industry-leading quality and reliability.  Fiber delivers amazingly sharp pictures and sound, and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen.  It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 50 Mbps* (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 20 Mbps, as well as high-quality voice services.

In Maryland, Verizon currently offers FiOS Internet and FiOS TV services to dozens of communities in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.  The company plans to begin offering FiOS Internet and FiOS TV in parts of Bel Air later this month.

"Approval of Verizon's video franchise is great news for residents in the Town of Bel Air, who soon will have more choice for their video entertainment," said William R. Roberts, Verizon's regional president in Maryland and Washington, D.C.  "We commend the Town of Bel Air Commissioners and staff for their dedication and hard work throughout this process.

"Clearly, they recognize and support the technological advantage and competitive benefits - as well as the distinctive edge in economic development and quality of life - that fiber will bring to their community," Roberts added.  "We look forward to reaching similar agreements with other Harford County communities."

Verizon currently provides FiOS TV in parts of California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington state. 

FiOS TV Service Highlights

FiOS TV service highlights include:

  • More than 400 all-digital channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.

  • Approximately 49 high-definition (HD) channels in Maryland, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.  The company plans to offer all available major HD programming by year-end. 

  • An industry-leading library of more than 11,000 video-on-demand (VOD) titles each month, 70 percent of which are free.  In addition, Verizon offers an increasing number of on-demand titles in high-definition, with plans to offer 1,000 HD VOD titles per month by year-end.

  • An innovative interactive media guide (IMG) that helps customers quickly and easily find and enjoy content from TV listings, VOD catalogs and the digital video recorder (DVR), as well as personal music and photos from a home network.  Among the features of the IMG are:

    • Multi-Room DVR - Verizon's Home Media DVR allows customers to stream recorded HD and standard-definition (SD) programs to up to six other TV sets throughout the home.  This includes the ability to watch three separately recorded shows on three TV sets at the same time, plus pause recorded programming in one room and continue watching in another.

    • Widgets - Customers have one-touch, on-demand access to local weather and traffic reports shown on TV screens.  Widgets provide local traffic and weather reports, daily local and national news headlines, daily national sports headlines, community news, and daily horoscopes.

    • Free casual games - With the remote control and an HD set-top box, customers can access chess, solitaire and wordplay.

    • "What's Hot on FiOS TV" - Features information on the most-popular programs currently being broadcast in the region and the most popular VOD titles.

    • "Wait for Me" - Allows customers to pause live programming, change channels, and then return to the paused program and pick up where they left off. 

    • Channel sorting options - Customers can create two separate lists of favorite channels for family members.  Customers also can filter channels in the guide by genre, for instances where a customer only may want to see HD content, international channels or kids programming, among others.

Programming choices for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural audiences are available in every market, making FiOS TV an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

Consumers in the Town of Bel Air can check online at www.verizon.com/fios for more information or to request that Verizon contact them when FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services become available.  Customers also can call their local Verizon sales office or 888-GET FiOS (888-438-3467).

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

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Media Contact:

Sandra Arnette, 410-393-7109

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